1.4m become jobless amid 2nd wave lockdown

Special Correspondent

6 June, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Finance ministry taking steps to create new employments and provide job security

Around 1.4 million people have temporarily lost their jobs due to the lockdown and restrictions imposed during second wave of the pandemic, said a government policy statement released Thursday.

“Due to the increasing use of modern technology in various sectors including industry and agriculture, a section of our working population was becoming jobless every year. Nearly 1.4 million people (according to Adebod) have temporarily lost their jobs…,” the statement said. 

It said the government has taken various initiatives to provide job security and new employments to some sectors.

A loan of Tk 50 billion has been allocated for the payment of salaries and allowances to the workers/employees of the export oriented industries including readymade garments.

The government will provide financial assistance in the form of interest subsidy to the affected industries to keep the pace of economic activity going and also to ensure that workers are not laid off.

“In addition, a package of Tk 300 billion as working capital loans will be provided to the affected large industries and services sector at a low interest rate of 4.5 percent.”

Another package of Tk 200 billion as working capital loans will be provided to micro, cottage and SME entrepreneurs at a low interest rate of 4 percent, it said.

 “These incentive packages have encouraged entrepreneurs to stay afloat and maintain both production and jobs.”

“In addition, the government has extended low-interest loan assistance to ensure employment in rural areas, especially for agriculture. This will motivate rural poor farmers, expatriate workers and trained and unemployed youth to engage in agriculture, agro-related production and services, small business in rural areas and self-employment.”

A sum of Tk 32 billion will be provided to five financial institutions for expansion of employment related credit activities.

These  include: Karmasangsthan Bank, Prabasi Kalyan Bank, Village Savings Bank, Ansar-VDP Bank and Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation.

Again, to revitalize the rural economy and ensure job creation in rural areas, another programme of Tk 15 billion has been undertaken to disburse through the micro-credit sector institutions, such as Joyeeta, SME Foundation, BSCIC, Bangladesh Rural Development Foundation, NGO Foundation, etc.

Skill development programmes are being implemented to enhance skills of the working population and increase labour productivity and wages.

One of these projects is the Skills for Employment Investment Program, being implemented by the Finance Division, through which 8,41,680 youths will be given skill enhancement training that will help them get jobs at home and abroad.

Under this project, 4.28 lakh people have already been trained, out of which 2.48 lakh people have been employed.

The Department of Youth Development is implementing a “National Service Program” under which temporary employment has been provided to 2,27,402 persons by imparting training.

The government is also implementing a “job development” reform programme, which will bring reforms in three areas: increasing investment for faster job creation, protecting workers, and increasing access to work for those at risk.

The government has taken various initiatives to create self- employment for the youth through the creation of skilled youth by utilizing the immense power and potential of the youth.

 “To ensure that the unemployed youth and the young women receive employment and self-employment at home and abroad, a target has been set to provide training to a total of 4.27 lakh people in FY22.”

At present, more than 1.2 crore migrant workers are working in 174 countries of the world. On an average, about 7 lakh workers are employed abroad every year.

In the last ten years, more than 6.4 million people of various levels, such as professional, skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled, have taken jobs abroad, which is about 60 percent of total foreign employment.

Even in 2020, despite the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2.17 lakh workers have received employment abroad. 

Over the medium term, the government plans to continue the 2.0 percent incentive and further ease the process of sending remittances.

The tax cuts offered to businesses and industries in the proposed national budget will help increase investment and create more jobs rather than squeezing revenues, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said in a reaction on Friday.  “I hope the new budget will create new investment, employment and improve livelihood of marginal people,” he told reporters at an online post-budget press conference.

“Business is a flexible term, demand for which changes time to time. Tax benefits have been offered to them keeping in mind their demands at this moment as Bangladesh is connected to a market economy,” he added.

Finance Secretary Abdur Rouf Talukder argued that the issue of employment generation has not only addressed from the fiscal side but also from expenditure side. He pointed out that ADP expenditure has been increased more than what has been estimated in the 8th five-year plan only to create jobs. Covid-19 impacts left nearly 62 percent people jobless, mostly during last year’s March-April corona lockdown, finds a new survey of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD). Only 15 percent of them returned to their job by one month while 85 percent of them remained unemployed for a longer time, it said.